Rock, paper…plastic? A quiz about pop songs and bands linked to materials – Physics World


With the 2020 Fall Meeting of the Materials Research Society now underway, what better way to kick things off than a quiz about songs and bands with materials in their titles or lyrics? (Warning: we’re not saying we necessarily like all the music mentioned!)

Rock hard : how well do you know your pop trivia with a materials theme?

1. Which of these artists has never had a song with the word “diamonds” in the title?

A. The Beatles B. David Bowie C. Paul Simon D. Rihanna

2. What metal was the title of the 2011 chart-topper by David Guetta, in which the singer Sia likens her strength to this material’s ability to be “bullet-proof” and “stone hard”?

A. Chromium B. Platinum C. Titanium D. Vanadium

3. In Spandau Ballet’s cheesy 1983 hit Gold, what attribute of the metal does singer Tony Hadley use to describe his lover?

A. Immutable B. Imperishable C. Incorruptible D. Indestructible

4. Which of these artists once recorded a song called Made of Stone?

A. Joss Stone B. Sly and the Family Stone C. The Rolling Stones D. The Stone Roses

5. Lady Gaga’s name can be spelled out using the symbols of which of the following groups of elements?

A. Lanthanum Dysprosium Gadolinium Gadolinium  B. Lawrencium Dysprosium Gadolinium Gadolinium C. Lanthanum Dysprosium Gallium Gallium D. Lawrencium Dysprosium Gallium Gallium

6. What two materials formed the title of a 1965 number-one hit by British band Unit 4 + 2?

A. Cement and Ceramic B. Cement and Clay C. Concrete and Ceramic D. Concrete and Clay

7. What was the stage name of Marianne Joan Elliot-Said, the lead singer of influential 1970s punk band X-Ray Spex?

A. Poly Methyl Methacrylate B. Poly Styrene C. Poly Thene D. Poly Vinyl Chloride

8. German pop star Drafi Deutscher – whose career famously nose dived after he urinated off a balcony – had a hit song in 1965 with what three materials in the title?

A. Gold, silver, bronze B. Concrete, cement, granite  C. Marble, stone, iron D. Rock, chalk, clay

9. Which one of the following bands with a metal in the title never, as far as we know, existed?

A. Tin Machine B. Steel Pulse C. Iron Maiden D. Brass Monkey

10. What’s the final element to be named at the very end of Tom Lehrer’s song The Elements?

A. Antimony B. Barium C. Sodium D. Zirconium

11. And finally, what Queen song, written by PhD physicist Brian May, is also the atomic mass of potassium?

A. 37 B. 38 C. 39 D. 4o

Stuck for the answers? We’ll reveal them on 4 December.
• With thanks to Lou Bailey, Tami Freeman, Hamish Johnson, Ed Jost and Curtis Zimmermann for inspiration.

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